President’s Message March 2022

rob lee

I recently came across a quote “Everyone has the gift of time, but few utilize.” Incredibly, we’re already a quarter of the way through 2022. Time truly flies by! Yet when I pause and look around the Association, I am amazed by the countless people giving the gift of their time to help our industry grow and our communities overcome their water challenges.

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Stormwater Learning Hour March 2022

Stormwater Learning Hour

Join the Stormwater Committee’s next learning hour on Thursday, March 31 at 1 p.m. PST/2 p.m. MST. Jadene Stensland and Robert Emanuel from Clean Water Services will present on the Butternut Creek Enhancement Project. The project is a comprehensive stream enhancement and stormwater management effort located in an unincorporated community in Washington County, OR. Taking a unique approach of using the urban stream corridor enhancement to managing stormwater runoff from a roadway widening project to deliver mutual benefits of water quality treatment and integrated stormwater management. Connect via Zoom Meeting:

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PNCWA Seeks Leadership Nominations


The Board of Directors includes the following positions: President, President-Elect, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary, Past President, Association Young Professional Representative, two WEF Directors, and four Regional Directors. The PNCWA Nominating Committee is accepting nominations for the positions of Vice President, PNCWA WEF Director, Secretary, and YP Representative.

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Conference Committee Update

Conference Spokane

On behalf of the PNCWA board and the conference planning committee, we want to thank everyone who submitted an abstract for PNCWA 2022. We received over 200 submissions -- setting the stage for a robust technical program!

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Government Affairs Committee Update Mar 2022

gov't updateOregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) accepted the City of Ashland Water Quality Trading Plan as meeting the current intent of the Water Quality Trading Rule and objectives as set forth in OAR 340-039-0025. This project is primarily funded by the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality Clean Water State Revolving Fund. On September 4, 2018, the Ashland City Council awarded this contract to The Freshwater Trust.

Washington State Legislature removed the municipal fee cap for domestic wastewater utilities (SB 5585). Removing the fee cap will allow the state to increase staffing to reduce/remove the expired permit backlog. 

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Committee Spotlight: Stormwater

What the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill Means for the Pacific Northwest Water Industry
By Shannon Kronz, EIT, Civil Engineer, Brown and Caldwell

The United States Congress passed the Bipartisan Infrastructure package (HR 3684) on November 5, 2021. The Infrastructure package allocates $1.2 trillion towards new research, grant programs, and U.S. infrastructure modernization and allocates $55 billion to drinking water, wastewater, and stormwater infrastructure funding.

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Meet the 2022 InFLOW Participants

InFLOW is a PNCWA initiative that strives to identify promising students and young professionals from underrepresented groups who are interested in careers in the water industry. They participate in a year-long virtual program that culminates with attending the Annual Conference in person. Each month, we’ll highlight our participants, and they’ll share why they are excited about this year’s program. Read about Geneva Schlepp here.

GenGeneva Schlepp
Washington State University

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President’s Message February 2022

Rob Lee새해 복 많이 받으세요! In Korean, this phrase means, “Please receive many new year’s blessings.”

Whether you celebrate the start of the new year (per the lunar calendar) or cannot believe we’re already in the second month of the solar calendar, my hope is that each and every person reading this heads into 2022 with many blessings to come.

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Apply to Become a Mentor or Mentee By Feb. 28

mentor program

The PNCWA Mentorship Program application is now open! This one-year program pairs seasoned clean water professionals with students and young professionals for a series of conversations and learning opportunities to challenge and inspire us and to help us stay connected. It’s a great way to grow your career as well as your PNCWA network. If you’re an experienced professional interested in guiding the industry’s future leaders, or a student or young professional seeking advice from someone who has faced the same career questions, consider participating in the 2022 program.

For more information, visit our webpage.

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Last Tech Spotlight Before the March 2 Emerging Technologies Webinar

emerging tech webinar

In recent newsletters, the Emerging Technologies Committee has highlighted topics to be covered in the upcoming CEU-eligible webinar, “Advances in Collection to Recovery: Tech Highlights from the 2021 PNCWA Annual Conference.” The final two topics are summarized below, and the committee encourages PNCWA members and non-members alike to grab a lunch or midday coffee and join this innovation-packed webinar at 12 p.m. PST on Wednesday, March 2.

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Stormwater Learning Hour February 2022

Stormwater Learning Hour

Join the Stormwater Committee’s next learning hour tomorrow, Feb. 23 at 11 a.m. PST. Matt Knudsen and Stephanie Rosentrater from Marion County Public Works will present on the environmental impacts to County property and right-of-way caused by the 2020 Beachie Creek Fire, which devastated many communities in the Santiam Canyon, destroyed thousands of properties, and severely altered the landscape. Connect via Zoom here:
Meeting ID: 883 1348 3166
Passcode: Stormwater

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Government Affairs Committee Update Feb 2022

gov't updateOn January 31, 2022, the White House released a comprehensive guidebook on the funding programs in the Infrastructure Investment & Jobs Act (IIJA), also known as the bipartisan infrastructure package.

“This guidebook is another step in our effort to be as transparent as possible, so you know what to apply for, who to contact, and how to get ready to rebuild,” according to Mitch Landrieu, White House Senior Advisor and Infrastructure Implementation Coordinator. “After all, most of the building will actually be done by state, Tribal, and local government partners.”

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Water Resource Recovery Facility Spotlight - City of Coeur d’Alene’s Coeur d’Green Composting Facility

Resource Recovery in Action: City of Coeur d’Alene’s Coeur d’GreenTM Composting Facility turns municipal biosolids into nutrient-rich soil amendment.

The City of Coeur d’Alene has been a pioneer in the wastewater treatment industry since 1939, when it’s 10,000 residents passed a bond to build one of the first secondary wastewater treatment plants in the Northwest (for a whopping $140,000!). Then, in 1989, the City again demonstrated its pioneering efforts in resource recovery with the construction of a composting facility that converts biosolids from the City’s wastewater treatment facility into a high-quality soil amendment using the aerated static pile composting method. The Class A Exceptional Quality product has been affectionately coined Coeur d’GreenTM compost and is unrestricted for horticultural uses. Since 1989, the composting facility has gone through many upgrades to improve operations and the quality of the end product, including covered wood chip storage, added bays for aerated curing, and upgraded conveying, mixing, and screening equipment. Figure 1 below is a schematic of the current composting process.

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Oregon Region Excellence in Service Award Winner

Hank Erbele

Hank Erbele has been awarded the 2021 PNCWA Oregon Region Excellence in Service Award, which recognizes those who have given truly outstanding service in one or more of the following aspects of the water quality industry: providing leadership in Section, Region, or Member Associations, delivering conference teaching, and impacting operator training, including the development of training courses that advance the knowledge of water quality operators. Hank has served in various leadership roles in the Oregon Region and Oregon’s West Central Operators Section for about 20 years. Congratulations, Hank!

President's Message January 2022

Rob LeeHappy New Year! When the calendar changes from December 31 to January 1, the earth rotates 23 hours 56 minutes and 4 seconds, just like every other day. But, for many of us, the new year is a sign of new beginnings.

The water industry is facing such tremendous challenges. COVID variants, climate change, worker shortages, supply chain issues, silver tsunami of retirees, increasing rural-urban divides, racial injustice, lack of equal access to sanitation and clean water, and the list goes on. Yet, in the midst of these challenges, there is a spark of hope. This spark is each and every one of you who raise your hand, refusing to be simply carried along by the challenges, but who instead plant your feet and take those challenges head on. You all are the spark that spurs on others, creating a chance for change.

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Emerging Technologies Committee Webinar

emerging tech smartcover

Advances in sensor technology have made it more accurate and cost-effective to reduce or prevent overflows by remotely monitoring collection systems. With increasingly powerful analytical capabilities, these sensors and accompanying software use parameters like flow, sewer levels, and weather data to help sewer system operators predict and manage infiltration and inflow (I&I) more reliably than ever before.

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Leadership Committee Update


The leadership committee will be hosting open discussions of relevant and interesting leadership-related ideas each quarter. These sessions, which will be held virtually via Teams, are open to any PNCWA member. The topic and date for each quarter session will be announced in the PNCWA Digest. If you are interested in joining any of the sessions, please contact Ana Arango at [email protected]

First Session:
Join us on February 14, 2022 for an open discussion on Margaret Heffernan’s TED Talk, “Dare to Disagree.”

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Water Resource Recovery Facility Spotlight — Spokane County Regional Water Reclamation Facility


In the 1970s, Spokane County noticed that septic tanks in the area posed a threat to the Spokane Valley Rathdrum Prairie Aquifer, especially as urban growth increased in the Spokane Valley. This aquifer is the primary source of drinking water for Spokane County, Washington and Kootenai County, Idaho. So, in the 1980s, the County led an effort to install sewers throughout urbanized areas of Spokane County, eliminate septic systems, and connect homes and businesses to a centralized sewer system. During that effort, all regional wastewater was treated at the City of Spokane’s Riverside Park Water Reclamation Facility.

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Member Spotlight: Richard Finger

richard finger

The Member Services Committee is excited to promote our amazing volunteers in our section of the monthly digest. If you know someone we should feature in the “Member Spotlight,” send an email to committee Vice Chair Jen Murphy. For our next spotlight, we would like to introduce you to Richard Finger. Take it away, Richard.

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RSJ Subcommittee Newsletter - Jan 2022

The Racial & Social Justice (RSJ) Subcommittee January newsletter focuses on environmental justice. The newsletter’s goal is to highlight diversity, equity, and inclusion projects and collect multimedia resources and book recommendations to advance learning and awareness of history, perspective, and action for environmental, racial, economic, and social justice.

The subcommittee welcomes your suggestions for content, such as educational materials (i.e. essays, books, podcasts, etc.); membership organization RSJ/DEI program (i.e. agencies, consulting firms); projects with RSJ elements; and volunteer opportunities. Email Frank Dick with your ideas and suggestions.